Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 9: Kalachandji's

Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.

Kalachandji's is a restaurant located in a palace, and palatial dining isn't an everyday occurrence for those of us not born into royalty or voted to power in totally-democratic-we-swear elections. It's a humble palace -- you won't be sitting at an ornate table decorated in gold leaf or riding a bejeweled elephant to get back to your car -- but it's a palace nonetheless, which makes eating here interesting before you walk through the door.

Kitchens are supposed to be warm, but the temperature at Kalachandji's got over the top last year. Black soot still clings to the bricks where flames lapped the outside walls through the windows. The subsequent closure was brief, though, and the updated serving area looks better than it has in years. It's a worthy stage for Dallas' best vegetarian buffet.

Much of the menu comes from the standard Indian playbook, with dals and curried vegetable dishes forming the backbone of a buffet that changes daily. There are crispy papadams like Frisbee-sized crackers, and deep-fried fritters called pakoras, filled with even more veg. But dishes like layered rice, tomatoes and cheese you will think is a lasagna, and other casseroles and enchiladas, don't lean as heavily on the flavors of the subcontinent. There's something here for everyone, and everyone will be all the better for indulging it.

Texas may be one of the meatiest states there is, and while barbecued brisket and drive-in burgers are great 27 days a month, the occasional vegetable is recommended. And if you eat those vegetables in a serene environment, you'll only further reduce your karmic debt. It's an almost decadent way to atone for your gluttony.

You'll leave ready for anything -- Including your next barbecue road trip.

No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co. No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint No. 47: Taj Chaat House No. 46: Mot Hai Ba No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 42: Mughlai No. 41: Russian Banya No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria No. 38: Carbone's No. 37: Babe's No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 35: Zaguan No. 34: Royal Sichuan No. 33: Spoon No. 32: Bambu No. 31: Pecan Lodge No. 30: FT33 No. 29: Keller's Drive-In No. 28: La Pasadita No. 27: Ten Bells Tavern No. 26: El Ranchito No. 25: Cafe Urbano No. 24: Nova No. 23: Jeng Chi No. 22: Omi No. 21: Tei-An No. 20: Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 19: Yutaka and Sharaku No. 18: Local No. 17: Ibex No. 16: Pakpao No. 15: Chennai Cafe No. 14: Smoke No. 13: Nonna No. 12: Kuby's No. 11: Sushi Sake No. 10: La Banqueta

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